TULIPS BLOOMING AGAIN
T. PIERCE BROWN
It seems that every few years there is a recurrence of what is known in theological circles as the TULIP theory. Basically it is Total hereditary depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and Perseverance of the saints. It is unscriptural in every point, yet logically consistent if one grants the first assumption and also claims that anyone can ever be saved.
That is, if we are born totally depraved an unable to think a good thought or do a good deed, then if anyone is saved it must depend on God to choose that specific person, for it is evident that a totally depraved person could not choose to do right. So unconditional election is the only alternative. That is, God cannot elect to save a person as a result of anything good in the person, for there is nothing good in anyone, so He must arbitrarily choose to save a specific person if that person is to be saved. Then, since a person whose sins were atoned for is the one who can and must be saved, God could not atone for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2), but only for those whom he previously elected to be saved. Thus, there must be limited atonement. The fact that the theory denies that God wants all to be saved, and loved the whole world and atoned for the sins of the world does not seem to matter for those who are blinded by a theory.
Then irresistible grace must come into effect, for if God chooses the vile, ungodly sinful wretch who does not does not want to be saved, (and he cannot want to be, according to the theory), then God must graciously overcome his evil will by a grace that cannot be resisted. Once this is accomplished, it would be impossible for such a person to be lost, for it is assumed that God has purposed and planned for his salvation from before the foundation of the world, and since God is omnipotent, his will cannot be thwarted.
It is sad to note that there are those connected with the Lord’s church that have absorbed and taught various aspects of this false theory, but one cannot logically teach one aspect without teaching all of them, for they stand or fall together. Any teacher that teaches that the “fall of mankind” causes man to be born inherently evil falls into that trap. Many who are considered “sound in the faith” try to avoid that by teaching that we are not inherently sinful, but only inherit “sinful tendencies” because of “the fall.” To help you understand what you believe about it, we ask you, “What tendency to sin were you born with that Adam did not have when he was created?” We have been asking that question for almost 70 years, and have found no one who has answered it. We may have “sinful tendencies” but we did not inherit them because of the fall of Adam.
If the tulips start blooming in your yard, you need to learn how to cut them down at the roots. If you first learn that you did not get your spiritual nature from Adam or any other of your ancestors, but that “God is the father of spirits” (Heb. 12:9), and that “God hath made man upright, but they have sought out many inventions” (Ecc. 7:29) it may go a long way in helping to defeat every other point of the TULIP theory.
T. Pierce Brown
1068 Mitchell Ave.
(931) 528-3600 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org